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Food Stamp Cuts Bring Hardship On Thanksgiving For San Diegans

Above: Hundreds of people eat a Thanksgiving meal at the San Diego Rescue Mission.

Aired 11/25/13 on KPBS News.

A typical Thanksgiving meal will cost the average family nearly $50 this year, which is far beyond reach for the nearly half-million people in San Diego County who struggle every day to put food on the table.

Food stamp cuts that took effect this month will make Thanksgiving even harder than usual for low-income San Diegans.

A typical Thanksgiving meal will cost the average family nearly $50 this year, which is far beyond reach for the nearly half-million people in San Diego County who struggle every day to put food on the table — especially the 270,000 people who depend on food stamps for meals. Federal food benefits were cut Nov. 1 by $36 per month for a family of four.

“Coming to a meal like this for free is really helping out a lot of those families that just can’t afford to put together a real thanksgiving,” said Herb Johnson, president and CEO of the San Diego Rescue Mission.

The Rescue Mission is one of several charities in San Diego serving a Thanksgiving feast to people in need. Theirs happened to be over the weekend.

San Diego Rescue Mission workers prepare 150 turkeys, 350 pounds of stuffing, 600 pounds of potatoes, 500 pounds of peas and 200 pounds of cranberry sauce for their annual Thanksgiving meal, on November 22, 2013.

Johnson said they set the table for 1,800 — several hundred more than last year. He said their emergency shelter for women and children is a good indicator of the growing number of struggling families.

“In the past year, we’ve seen probably about a 75 to 100 percent increase in the number of mothers and children,” Johnson said.

Johnson said people always like to open up their hearts and volunteer to serve a meal on Thanksgiving, but he emphasized they serve 500,000 meals each year.

Homeless mothers and their children lay on blanket-covered mattresses at the San Diego Rescue Mission's Emergency Shelter, April 2013.

“So there’s meal services here every single day and there are opportunities to volunteer all year long,” Johnson said.

Other charities serving Thanksgiving meals include the volunteer group Just Call Us. They’ll be providing a feast to people at the San Diego Homeless Shelter and Veterans Shelter on Thanksgiving Day.

San Diego Meals On Wheels plans to deliver 2,000 meals to seniors on Thanksgiving Day.

Comments

Avatar for user 'MaoTzu'

MaoTzu | November 25, 2013 at 10:38 a.m. ― 11 months ago

Cutting foodstamps right before the two most food/family holidays of the year. Is this the war on Christmas that Fox News is always ranting about?

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | November 25, 2013 at 1:24 p.m. ― 11 months ago

"...nearly half-million people in San Diego County who struggle every day to put food on the table — especially the 270,000 people who depend on food stamps for meals."

===

Food stamp benefits in California now average $150 a month per person.

PER PERSON!

If I tried hard, real hard, I don't think I could spend $150 a month in groceries.

What exactly are they buying?

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Avatar for user 'MaoTzu'

MaoTzu | November 25, 2013 at 2:10 p.m. ― 11 months ago

Don't know where you get those stats from but assuming they're correct. Do the math, you spend less than $5 a day on food?

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | November 25, 2013 at 9:38 p.m. ― 11 months ago

Food stamp benefit data from USDA:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/18SNAPavg$PP.htm

Less than $5 a day on food? If you don't go out to eat, it isn't hard at all.

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Avatar for user 'MaoTzu'

MaoTzu | November 26, 2013 at 12:28 p.m. ― 11 months ago

I'd love to see that.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | November 26, 2013 at 2 p.m. ― 11 months ago

OK MT, from here

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007NKC80/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=1535523722&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0007NKC7Q&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0N1KWGE8N0JQPETR85PD

and here

http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Pre-Washed-Pinto-Beans-lb/dp/B0072HR1N8/ref=sr_1_5?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1385502030&sr=1-5&keywords=bulk+beans+50+lbs

For $104.65 one could eat 1.67 pounds (raw) or rice and 1.67 pounds (raw) of beans for 30 days.
Plug that into a calorie counter and you will get over 3,000 calories per day… way more than one needs. Scale back the staples consumption and mix in fresh vegetables (bought in bulk) to introduce variety and one could easily live on that.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | November 26, 2013 at 3:09 p.m. ― 11 months ago

Great info Benz!

Mao, there are also many ethnic and farmer's markets in San Diego. They offer extremely cheap vegetables, fruit, and other fresh foods.

Also, if you go vegetarian, you'll save more and become healthier at the same time.

It is possible (and quite easy) to live on $5 a day. Put down your caviar, comrade, and give it a try!

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | November 26, 2013 at 6:01 p.m. ― 11 months ago

thank you volunteers thank you thank you!

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Avatar for user 'MrsGrundy'

MrsGrundy | November 26, 2013 at 7:20 p.m. ― 11 months ago

These kids today are livin large on gov cheeze.I know my fellow conservative friends will agree,In our day you worked a shift at the factory just for the privilege to sit on the floor(quietly,I might add!) and eat your gruel before going straight to bed for a few hours till the next shift.
and now the big goverment NY libs are going to force more regulations on what you can buy if you're on food stamps!
http://www.theonion.com/articles/ny-to-disallow-food-stamps-soda-purchases,18279/

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